Army, Marines Lose ‘Huge Recruiting Tool’ With Tuition Assistance Program Being Cut

Northeast Alabama
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(WHNT) - To deal with their new financial situation, the United States Army and the Marines Corps have both announced they are suspending enrollment in their Tuition Assistance Program for the rest of the fiscal year.

The program has helped countless active duty service members pay for college.

Air Force Veteran Ryan Scoble received his bachelor's degree through the program.

"You had this understanding that [if you enlist] you're going to have food, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and tuition assistance. You were going to have these benefits the recruiter offered to you when he came to your doorstep or you went to his office," said Scoble. "Now they're saying 'Hey, you do everything you promised to do, but we're not going to quite do everything we promised to'."

Scoble served in the Air Force for 10 years. He counts the Tuition Assistance Program as one of the most convincing aspects for recruitment, especially for teens who are unsure of their future, or are held back by financial and academic hurdles.

"That was me! I didn't have the grades to get a scholarship and I didn't think I was mature enough to go to college at the time; I don't think I would have lasted at the time," said Scoble. "That's a huge recruiting tool now."

The program offers $250 per credit hour and up to $4,500 a fiscal year. The suspension allows for soldiers and Marines currently enrolled to complete their courses. However, those who had hoped to enroll in the future will have to wait.

It's a move Scoble believes will set hinder the futures of the men and women who currently serve.

"Any time you directly impact a service member it should be the last cut you make. If you have to go into sequestration and you have to make defensive cuts, directly cutting the service member is the last place you need to do it."

The Army released a statement Friday, saying "The Army understands the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improve."

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